Did you know that color choice improves brand recognition by up to 80%?
Maybe you also didn’t know that it’s one of the last steps in logo design, but one of the first things clients won’t stop asking about. Let’s face it, graphic design for company branding isn’t easy.
It’s hard to know what is so important that you spend time and focus on first and what can wait for later. It’s hard, sometimes, to know why things like your customers’ life challenges matter in making a logo or branding decision. Or even what that challenge is.
These are absolute essentials, however!
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about your company’s branding and why your graphic designer won’t steer you wrong!
Graphic Design Basics
What walks on two legs, usually has a university diploma, and makes their living being a creative genius? If you guessed your graphic designer, you’re right.
Everyone tells an accountant or their network engineer what they would like to accomplish, throw money at them, and step out of the way to let them work their magic. Why are your graphics any different?
Let’s go over a little of what design actually means.
Design Is Not Art
Design isn’t art, but that doesn’t mean that graphic designers are not artists.
Tell us if you’ve heard this one: What’s the difference between a laborer, a craftsman, and an artist? A laborer uses his back, a craftsman adds his head, and an artist adds their heart.
What’s the lesson? Your designer will work tirelessly, with skills accumulated from spending a lot of time and effort, and with much passion. Part business guru, part engineer, part psychologist, your designer is more interested in how your customers will act than if your logo is “edgy” (whatever that means).
What Is Design?
If you have come to terms that your logo shouldn’t be for you to enjoy, but for your customer to become attracted to, then you’re ready to start.
Real designers use a tool in their toolbelt called a buyer persona or avatar. An avatar is based on a real customer or a general type of customer you deal with often.
It might not be customer one you expect and should always be based on real data. If you’re a startup and you haven’t had any customers yet then market research is essential to zero in on this ideal customer.
Some things (but not all) that should be included:
- Job title
- Needs vs Wants
- Challenges or issues
- Interests and goals
- How they look things up
- Consumer behaviors
While some things like gender we assume would be the same for men women or other genders, it’s not always the case. Millennials are primed to be the largest spending sector in the USA, at about 80 million strong.
Do you know enough about them? Are you one? Know your market niche; live the niche; become the niche.
Do you know enough about the process of graphic designs for company branding? Let’s get our toes wet.
Process Tips: Graphic Design for Company Branding
Company branding is much more than a logo. If the logo or mark is the face of the company, the “brand” is the reputation, clothes, network, and presence of the company. The process of branding goes like this most of the time:
- Do your research—know your market
- Know your niche—get a laser focus on your customer
- Draft a logo—sketch, sketch, sketch
- Final three—narrow it down to three finalists
- Typefaces—you don’t want to go wrong here
- Time for color—time to play with color psychology
- Style guides—your holy branding bible made just for your brand
- Images and Illustrations—be consistent across all channels
- Periodical brand review—customers gradually change, so should your brand
The expression “broad strokes first” means a lot in nearly any situation. When it comes to logo design as you are researching your market you’ll come across a lot of competitor logos and get a thematic feel along the way.
You don’t want to be so different so as to be alien, but not so similar that you look like you’re trying to “be like” others. The impression of your market goes into the sketching phase, based on the company’s values, customer avatar, business name, and other considerations. The three winners will be ones that communicate the right blend of factors you want your customers to react to.
Typefaces (often called fonts) and color are infinitely important and transform things like “I will always find you” into either a romantic promise or a murderous threat. These kinds of psychological and emotional considerations are things your designers are finely tuned to. Trust their judgment, but feel free to ask questions and make suggestions.
Putting it Together
The style guide is your brand’s religion and tells you where to use a black, white, color, or alternate logos. The style guide also covers what brand typography and coloring will be like and what image styles or illustrations you will use.
Will there be a color overlay to photos or a whimsical or serious mood to illustrations? Your style guide will tell you. A good real-world example of using a style guide effectively in a marketing campaign would be stickers for companies.
These are an amazing way to expand your branding campaign in a seamless, fun, and accepted way. A great example of this is how The HOTH has integrated it into their campaigns. In coffee shops around the world, their mascot is slapped on the backs of digital nomads’ laptops in free and fun advertising.
From time to time, rebrands become necessary. Take a look at the evolution of Microsoft and Windows. The brand is strong and stable even through many iterations and cycling through generations of users.
Branding 101: Dismissed
This is a short overview of graphic design for company branding. To be successful even in the short term, it’s going to take a lot of work. If you work with your designer, challenge them, and involve yourself actively in the process you should come out on top.
That is if you involve yourself in the process as a collaborator but not the expert. Remember, you’re an expert in your field—how would you feel if a novice customer started telling you how to do your work?
This short guide will help you know not only what to expect from your designer, but what factors to prepare before you even meet with them.
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